Tourists flum­moxed by work dur­ing school hol­i­days

Beach­go­ers Stranded

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

A RE­SORT op­er­a­tor is frus­trated over Townsville City Coun­cil’s tim­ing, with a beach at The Strand closed for sand re­dis­tri­bu­tion work at the start of the busy win­ter school hol­i­days.

How­ever, the coun­cil says the work needed to be car­ried out dur­ing a small win­dow be­tween ma­jor events.

Heavy ma­chin­ery be­gan work on Mon­day to re­dis- trib­ute sand along the beach be­tween To­bruk Pool and the Gre­gory St head­land as part of on­go­ing main­te­nance of the fore­shore.

Mariners North Hol­i­day Apart­ments res­i­dent man­ager Brett Thompson said his ac­com­mo­da­tion was booked solid, and guests were ex­pect­ing a re­lax­ing beach­side hol­i­day.

In­stead they are be­ing wo­ken at 6am by bull­doz­ers and forced to walk more than 500m if they want to ac­cess another beach.

“I’ve got guests shak­ing their heads, say­ing, ‘ Why on earth would they do it now,’ it’s just crazy,” Mr Thompson said.

“The beach has been like that for 12 months, so there is no pos­si­ble or rea­son­able ex- pla­na­tion to do it in the first week of school hol­i­days.”

Mr Thompson said the city had put a lot of work into pro­mot­ing the re­gion ahead of the peak tourism in­flux, but hav­ing The Strand as a “con­struc­tion site” was coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.

“This is the time to show­case Townsville, and this makes us look like coun­try bump­kins,” he said.

“They could have done it last week and no one would have no­ticed.

“Some­one at coun­cil has made an er­ror of judg­ment and I just want them to ad­mit they made a mis­take.’’

Deputy Mayor Vern Veitch ad­mit­ted there was never a good time to con­duct the work.

“It has to be done, and the dif­fi­culty we’ve got is we can’t do it in the wet sea­son … but then the dry sea­son is full of events from one end to the other,” Cr Veitch said.

“We don’t want it dur­ing the V8s, triathlon or run­ning fes­ti­vals … so I en­cour­age busi­nesses to be pa­tient.”

The work is sched­uled to be com­pleted by Fri­day, with the beach to re­open in stages as re­dis­tri­bu­tion is fi­nalised.

Heavy ma­chin­ery at work on the The Strand.

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